Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Daydreaming and other Thought Sins

Along the lines of the TFI motto, "A good revolutionary [for Jesus] doesn't ask questions," we were taught that we must be "vigilant" about our thoughts. Unquestionably the worst sin was "doubt," a doubt being any question or contrary opinion. Certainly, we were never to utter any.

Voicing a doubt would cause discord, and "sowing discord among the brethren" was one of the seven abominations to God. (Proverbs 6:19) Clearly, a horrible sin.

There were societal norms at play, as I wrote before in The Bandwagon; no one said anything contrary to what was published in the Mo Letters, or if they did, they were to expect some sort of correction or punishment. This could be in the form of being required to wear headphones all day and listen to recordings of the Bible or the publications, usually accompanied by some sort of work designed to "teach humility." Need I say there was pressure for conformity?

There were other thought crimes as well. Thinking about the past and the future were sins, as was daydreaming, which was likened to permitting unruly behavior in a little child. We were taught that our minds were a battlefield, and we were not to permit any thought other than "godly" thoughts in our minds.

"Casting down imaginations... and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ." (2 Corinthians 10:5) This was interpreted quite literally, and was just another tool used to keep cult members subordinate.

In some sad cases, young people who were pronounced guilty of "voicing doubts" by virtue of their natural tendency to question, or, god forbid, were opinionated or even overly gregarious, actually had their mouths taped and/or wore a sign that read "Silence Restriction" as a warning to others not to talk to them (and not to fall prey to their fate).

But what of the young person's parents? Didn't they intervene to prevent this abuse? In far too many cases, the parents did not live with their teenage children. Deemed old enough to live without parents (after all, the children in the group were considered all "our children") they were sent off to large Homes where they lived and were "shepherded" (corralled) in groups by generally pretty harsh taskmasters. They spent their days working: caring for children, cleaning, proselytizing, cooking, etc., with no time for education; the required Mo Letter reading was education enough, or so we were taught.

If their parents did happen to be in the same home, and if they were bold enough to speak up in defense of their child, there was no way their words would be heeded. In fact, their words would be used against them. Labelled as "favoring their children," yet another sin against the principles of the cult, they were watched more carefully from then on for other signs of this "favoring." (Can you guess how I know this?)

I am happy to see that my children today enjoy daydreaming. Not surprisingly, researchers have found that letting the mind wander increases creativity, improves working memory, consolidates memories, and allows the subconscious to bring forth solutions to problems upon which it had been ruminating.

For an interesting article about daydreaming, see "Dreams of Glory."

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